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That was silly!
1 July 2005 Volume 7 - Issue 12

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Michelin teams will have to forget about the silly ruling of the World Motor Sport Council that found them guilty on two counts and focus on the race.

How the World Motor Sport Council can rule against the teams without holding the FIA, who approved Michelin as a supplier, responsible too is a little mind boggling. Surely it is the FIA’s responsibility to determine the rules that the tyres are built to and providing that the rules are observed they must shoulder the responsibility if something goes wrong.

The second count on which the teams were found guilty is even more absurd. How can anyone expect a pass through the pits on every lap as a possible solution? Apart from the very obvious danger of virtually every car on the track shooting down pit lane every lap how would that have gone as a race? As a possible solution that was so absurd that I cannot believe that it was ever seen as an option.

How much of the fiasco in the US was the fault of the Michelin teams? I do not even think that Michelin is at fault. Then why the farce of dragging them through a punitive hearing? To appease the US people? To be able to say: It is not my fault? When the most powerful body in any sport ducks and weaves to lay the blame somewhere else it is time to wonder how effective they are. Apart from the obvious cowardice it implies it also tells the teams in no uncertain terms that the FIA make the rules but are not prepared to accept responsibility if they do not work.

The FIA must accept responsibility for the outcome of the rules they made, not try to shift it to the teams that were pretty close to innocent bystanders.

The starting grid at Magny Cours (track layout) is right at the beginning of the pit straight, which will allow the cars to get up to full speed through Grande Courbe (turn 1) negotiated at some 270km/H(167mph) before slowing slightly for Estoril (turn 2) entered at 200km/H(124 mph) steadily accelerating to exit at close to 270km/H(167mph) by the time the ever easing bend straightens in what is regarded as Golf (turn 4) where the cars will get over 300km/H(186mph) before braking for Adelaide, a very tight right turn that is almost a hairpin. Again hard on the accelerator up to at least 280km/H(174mph) dropping only 20 or 30 kilometres per hour through the gentle “s” of Nurburgring bleeding off a further 30kmh through turn 8 before winding it back up to 280km/H(174mph) through 9 and 10, slowing to 225km/H(140mph) for 11 and 12. A quick dip on the accelerator before really slowing (80km/H or 50mph) for Château d’Eau. Then it is flat out through turn 14 before braking to 80km/H(50mph) again for turn 15 that leads into the pit straight just to get hard on the brakes for the weird chicane at the start to the pit lane. Turn left and you are in the pits, right and you are in the straight.

This little wiggle at the start will slow the cars to the extent that overtaking will be nigh impossible on the pit straight. The cars will be so slow out of this “turn 16” that the leading car will gain too much ground as it gets to accelerate first. Under brakes into Adelaide looks as if it could be the only obvious overtaking place but the sweep called turn 14 may also work.

Although not nearly as fast as the dangerous (for Michelin tyres that is) turn in Indianapolis there will be considerable side loading through turn 14 – I hope the Michelins can make it in front of their home crowd.

For the rest of the season I feel that McLaren will be very hard to beat but Renault is very strong too and even if he does not win another race it will be hard to dislodge Alonso from the lead in the championship.

Ferrari are looking good only because they have been handed points on a plate in the US. I still do not believe that they have the pace to win under normal circumstances but if Michelin gets paranoid about their tyres they may supply tyres that are not as close to the edge and then the difference between Bridgestone and Michelin may be reversed, giving Ferrari a real chance to win.

BAR, Toyota and Williams are all looking very strong but not strong enough to make a difference this late in the season. 

Sauber are in all probability putting more effort into planning for next year when they will be the BMW team so the little they have managed to achieve is all for this season.

Red Bull will be using Ferrari engines next year so they must be hoping that it is not the engine that is holding Ferrari back this year.

Jordan and Minardi will not have the pace to be anything other than mobile chicanes.

I apologise for the brevity of this contribution but it is hard to ramble on enthusiastically about a sport that has to survive so much political upheaval before it can be called a sport. Maybe we need a political correspondent on newsonf1.

Agree or disagree ?

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